Poster Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

Cultural safety: Messages from the practice of Aboriginal hospital liaison officers and social workers in hospitals in Victoria (#210)

Elizabeth Orr 1 , Helen Bnads 2
  1. La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  2. Aboriginal Liaison, Peninsula Health Network, Frankston, Victoria , Australia

Creating cultural safety for Aborigninal people in hospitals is integral to meeting their health and workplace needs. The Australian Health Minister’s Advisory Council (AHMAC) Cultural Respectful Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (2004-2009) outlines an approach for all government jurisdictions, departments and funded services to create cultural respect which is a prerequisite to cultural safety. Implementing the Cultural Respect Framework, increasing the Indigenous health workforce and changing the culture of hospitals are key elements in strategies to build the cultural safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the overall health care system.

Stories of practice from Aboriginal Hospital Liaison Officers(AHLOs) and Social Workers provide anecdotal evidence about the translation of cultural respect in hospitals. Drawing on the findings of the PhD research of one of the authors, and sharing a story of practice by an Aboriginal Liaison Officer, this presentation proposes that Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people working together as allies can not only contribute to improving the individual cultural safety of Aboriginal patients but potentially create changes to hospital processes from the ground up. Furthermore, AHLOs can and do facilitate `bringing Aboriginal culture into' the hospital. Ideas for continuing professional education, a call for the inclusion of AHLOs in Indigenous health workforce planning and pathways for Aboriginal Liaison officers into higher education health courses will be discussed with attendees at this presentation.